Good Luck To My Babies

The long weekend is finally over. I have yet to blog on my birthday gifts and the needlebook exchange. Time was not the problem. I had the time, but somehow the mood was not right 🙁 . Maybe due to the fasting month, the body is moving slower than normal.

Anyway, today is a big day for my 3 “babies” who are the only ones  still in the school system.

Aina, Nukman & Nafis on the way up the Mount Merapi, in Sumatera, taken last year. See here for the complete gallery.

Aina, 12, is sitting for her UPSR exam which starts today (To my non-Malaysian friends, this is the external exam for the final year of primary school). Next week will be her PSRA (the Islamic Religious Studies version) exams. Up to as late as last night, Aina was still actively doing the various quizzes on Facebook! Anyway, good luck to her!

Today too Nukman who has been studying French as a 3rd language for 3+ years, is sitting for his DELF 2A (or is it 2B?). Nafis, who is 12 months Nukman’s senior, is also sitting for DELF, but only DELF 1A. Not a bad try for him, trying to learn it as his 4th language. Nafis is studying Japanese as his 3rd language. So, boys, good luck to both of you too!

That’s the beauty of studying in a boarding school – they get to learn a 3rd language, and in Nafis’ case, he’s doing self-learning (with a lot of help from his friends who are taking French as their 3rd language) for his French.

While I am still at learning languages, I might as well add on here. I think it is in the family trait to learn other languages. DH took a 1-year course in German while he was doing his undergraduate studies. He even had the opportunity to polish up the language when he took up the Humboldt Fellowship to do research in Dortmund, Germany.

At DH’s encouragement, I took up a 1-yr course in French when I was an undergraduate. It was torturing, but I never regret it.French, being one of the Romance Languages, helps me understand Spanish (while we were touring Spain earlier this year).

In 1991 I tried learning Japanese while I was still a lecturer in UiTM. I took up the night classes conducted by UiTM at 50% discount (being a staff of UiTM). It became useful when I had a 7-week stint in Tokyo in 2004 (under a CICC scholarship for an e-learning course) . Even though the course was conducted in English, but we needed some basic Japanese to get around during our stay there.

When I was teaching the A-Level (German Programme) students in 1997, I took the opprtunity to join my students in their German language classes. I did OK then, but now I have forgotten most of the words 🙁 (the same goes to the other languages). I also attended  12-day training in Korea in 2005 but I hardly learnt any Korean because the course was conducted in english and there was no slot to learn nor practise the language.

Nuni and Bok took up the same Japanese class that I attended, but later in 2000, or was it 2001? It was a good exposure to both of them. I am happy to see that Bok (unlike his mum) can still read the Hiragana & Katakana characters! I am not sure about Nuni’s Japanese though..

Nuni took the opportunity to learn some Gaelic (Irish language) while she was in Dublin. I wonder if she still remember the common phrases?

Ayi (who is in Canada) tried to learn French last year but gave up after 1 semester. I perfectly understand his predicament. Unlike the Germans, the French do not pronounce what they spell! They have so many “silent” letters in their words 🙁 .

Unfortunately, I am losing the little competency that I had of most of the languages (except English) due to lack of practice.

Suddenly I am reminded of the fun we had when the kids were smaller. Before they knew English, DH and I used to converse in English stuff that we didn’t want them to know. When they started to learn and understand English, DH and I used some German words and phrases instead! That really annoyed them! Hahaha!!! Those were the days…


Aina highlighted to me that she’s been learning Arabic for the past 8 years, and I forgot to mention it! Sorry, Aina. The fact is –  Mama has yet to listen to you speaking the language, hence I forgot that you too are learning a 3rd language! Never mind that you regular score A for the Arabic subject..

I sent Aina to an Islamic school for 2 years of pre-school , and now she’s in her final (6th) year in an Islamic school, hence the total of 8 yrs of learning the language!

3 thoughts on “Good Luck To My Babies

  1. Hello Sabariah,

    Your post is interesting! I failed French all through highschool :(…then I met my francophone husband and moved to Quebec and now I am fluent in French. I think living in the language helps. If I didn’t speak French, I would have virtually no life here. I am the only one in my family who speaks English. It is true, French has a lot of silent letters ;).

    Such inspiring children Sabariah! How do you let them go off into the world, other countries? My oldest is 5 hrs away in Montreal and I find it hard!



  2. Ca va, Peggy!

    Being 5 hrs away, or 50 hours away, as mothers, we still miss our kids just the same. The Internet helps a lot though!

    I guess we kinda get used to being away to study – starting with both DH and I ourselves studied in Australia. It definitely broadens our view of things and people.
    The boys themselves wanted to be in the boarding schools. The first 3 never went to boarding schools, but post-secondary school they went all over the places too.

    Have you read the last addition to my post – about DH and I using the language the kids didn’t understand to discuss private matters in front of them?

    I have a friend in UK who speaks only German (they are all British) to his son since he was a baby, while the mother speaks English. The boy grew up fluent in both languages! Isn’t that great?

    You failed your French in school? I think that was because there was no incentive nor clear objective to learn it. BTW, maybe I should stay in Quebec too to polish my French?

  3. Ar ndóigh níl Gaeilge agam! 😆
    It’s a very confusing language.

    p.s.: I still remember some of the common Irish phrases and words. And I still do understand basic Japanese though I can no longer read katakana/ hiragana. 😀

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